Servant of the Crown and Steward of the Church: The Career of Philippe of Cahors
Published: November 2019© 2020
128 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.35 in
In the thirteenth century, radical reformers – churchmen, devout laywomen and laymen, and secular rulers – undertook Herculean efforts aimed at the moral reform of society. No principality was more affected by these impulses than France under its king, Louis IX or "Saint Louis." The monarch surrounded himself with gifted, energetic moralists to carry out his efforts. Servant of the Crown and Steward of the Church explores the career of one of the most influential of King Louis’s reformers, Philippe of Cahors.
Born into a bourgeois family dwelling on the periphery of the medieval kingdom of France, Philippe rose through the ecclesiastical hierarchy to the office of judge. There he came to the attention of royal administrators, who recommended him for the king’s service. He ascended rapidly, and was eventually entrusted with the royal seal, effectively making constituting him the chancellor of the kingdom, the highest member of the royal administration. Louis IX secured his election as bishop of Évreux in 1269. Using the records of Philippe’s work in Reims, Paris, and Évreux, William Chester Jordan reconstructs Philippe’s career, providing a fascinating portrait of the successes and failures of reform in the thirteenth century.
1. The Early Years
2. A Swift Ascent: From Junior Clerk to "Chancellor"
3. Bishop of Evreux
4. The Prelate and His Holy Man
"William Chester Jordan draws on his vast knowledge of thirteenth-century sources to bring into the limelight another of the civil servants on whom Louis IX relied in his attempt to impose his own standards of behaviour on the restless crowd of his assorted subjects. From this study, Philippe of Cahors emerges from an undistinguished bourgeois background; Jordan’s mastery of the documentation permits the reader to follow Philippe’s ascent through solid patronage, his tasks as officialis in Reims, his early work as king’s clerk, his duties as Keeper of the Seal, and then his episcopal preoccupations. In other words, Jordan provides a biography that allows us to appreciate the nature of the problems Philippe faced at different stages in his life, and as a consequence, the reader has a sense of getting to know Philippe more intimately than is usually possible for a thirteenth-century figure in the background of political life."Jean Dunbabin, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford
"With meticulous research, Servant of the Crown presents the entire career of a successful and important bishop in Louis IX’s France. Readers will come away from this clear and concise book with a whole new level of understanding about how royal and episcopal government worked in thirteenth-century France."Sean L. Field, College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Vermont